Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

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Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by kingraf on Tue 28 Jul 2015, 9:39 am

This is one of the questions which I've always about. no doubt all would put it below the 1980-1995 West Indian era, which is fair enough, given the fact that the Windies never lost a series in that time frame. Most will also have the 1995-2007 Australian era above them. this is also fair enough, given the fact that Australia won with a never before/ never again ruthlessness. Then there are earlier sides which also have a great claim as one of the great teams. Many South Africans don't even regard this vintage as the greatest SA cricket team of all time, with the 1966-70 unit being seen as the gold standard. Of course, you also have the Australian Invincibles.

Nonetheless, for the sake of a thread; where do you see the South African side 2006-2014 Test side? Looking at their highs, these would include:
Series win over SL (home and away)
Back to back series wins in Australia
Back to back series wins in England.
Series win over Pakistan (home and away)
Series win over New Zealand (home and away)
Largest ever win over a team in terms of runs per wicket (vs England 2012)
Only team post uncovered pitches to rattle teams out for less than 50 on three separate occasions in eighteen months.
Eight years unbeaten in away series.

The negatives
Inability to win a home series vs England or, more frustratingly, Australia. The England one doesn't really rankle, as it was only the one series, and we were two wickets away from a 3-1 win. The Aus one really does hurt locally.
No away series win over India.

I know a lot of people will feel we weren't dominant enough, especially compared to the Australian era which immediately preceeded us, but I think we compare alright to them. Our bête noir was/is Australia. Their's was India.

Even in a player vs player analysis, I think we compare well. Kallis, Smith, Steyn, Abdv, Amla are some of the greatest of all time, while Morkel, Philander et al have added great support. In a direct comparisi with Aus 1995-2007, I'd say we compare well, with Shane Warne probably offering the difference major difference. If I had to class eras, I'd say

Windies 1980-1995
Australia 1995-2007
South Africa 2006-2014

thoughts?



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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by Gooseberry on Tue 28 Jul 2015, 11:41 am

Different ways of looking at it.

In that period they lost home tests to pretty much everyone including pretty average Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Austlian sides (although that series seemed to be all about insane pitches and batting collpase lotteries). Aus have won two series in SA mind which challeneges the notion that SA have been a genuinely great side in this period.

They certainly havent had close to the dominance of the legendary Aussie sides who preceeded them. I guess they have set the bar unrelaisticaly high for other teams to get called "great" now. Theres also a feeling that they just dont play enough tests full stop, but that may also explain how they have maintained star players at a peak without burning out....something that England who play too many tests have always struggled with.

Id also shift the start of the period of success to 2007, they lost 6 tests out of 10 in 06.


All that said its focussing on the negatives to temper the positive spin in your piece.
They have certainly been the best test side over the 8 years, and had some of the games true greats come through the side. Its certainly been a very good side with some great results and well deserves a number one ranking.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by jbeadlesbigrighthand on Tue 28 Jul 2015, 12:35 pm

I'd rate that South African team as excellent, but not comparable to the great Aussie or Windie sides.

It contained a number of all-time greats - Kallis, Steyn and ABDV, as well as the excellent Smith and Amla, Morkel, Philander etc. But I've always thought it didn't have the same strength in depth. Whereas South Africa was selecting the likes of Jacques Rudolph, Alviro Peterson and Boeta Dipenaar, guys like Stuart McGill were struggling to get in the Australian team, while Katich, Lehmann, Martyn weren't regulars. Stuart Law only played a single test and Mike Hussey only broke through at 30. Sure, the Aussies picked some guys who didn't cut it (e.g. Greg Blewett), but when you looked at their strongest XI, there didn't seem to be a weak link.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by kingraf on Tue 28 Jul 2015, 12:54 pm

Fair comments from both. But I would say there is a romanticised idea of the Aus side (helped of course by the fact that they were easy to romanticise).

While it may be true that SA has tended to drop home games more often, I think the away record makes up for it. At the end of the day, SA has only lost two series in eight years. The '95-07 Aus sides lost five. There was also the 2-2 draw against an honestly very poor West Indian side (WI had lost 5-0 to SA the summer before, and if possible were even more in disarray than they were when we whitewashed them).

Overall, I'd go with Aus being a notch above (with the caveat of me seeing us as very game opposition in a series). Their win rate was just remarkable. But (and I completely accept that I'm being biased) I think our record in AUS, ENG, and the subcontinent over the last eight years will be enough to see us enter the great threshold.

*Note that if we win in India later this year, I'm almost certainly extending the period to 2006-2015.
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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by Gooseberry on Tue 28 Jul 2015, 2:20 pm

In regard to the Aus record...
Their run really started in the end of 1994 and extended to the end of 2008 ... a 15 year period. Aus were also playing more series and games per year than the SA lot do, I guess its a sheer volume and length of time (despite the blip in 1999) which Aus stayed at the top that makes their dominance so impressive ... as well as the number of limited overs trophies they were producing along the way.
During that time they did lose 6 series, 4 of which were away in India and once in Sri lanka (when Lanka were at their peak and prepared spinning wickets). Theres no question (as KPF and his "lot") that Aus had a real bogey with India away and Aisian pitches in general but its a pretty weak stick to beat them with in context of their overall record. It also puts into context why the English public/media/former players still make such a hooha over the 2005 Ashes.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by kingraf on Tue 28 Jul 2015, 2:46 pm

In the greater scheme of things, its not a strong argument, but when it comes to matters of "greatness", the margins are so small that an inability in one specific area is to me, very relevant. And rightfully so. The number of limited over victories doubtless helps their case.
I went with 1995 and ended with 2007 because that is the era/timeline Aussies I know generally go with when describing their era of dominance. Starting the victory over the Windies and ending with the 07-08 Indian series (they lost the only '08 match). Although a quick search does show that they beat the Windies in 2008, which would create a lovely bookend. In the same vein, with South Africa, I went with 2006, instead of 2007 because that was the year of our last away defeat.

As an aside, Windies 1980-1995, or Aus 1995-2007?
The winnnigest side in cricket history or the least likely to lose a series?
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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by subhranshu.kumar.5 on Thu 30 Jul 2015, 4:29 am

I will begin my opinion with reference of another game.
Indian Hockey team dominated the sport from 1928 till late 70's. I agree they were depreciating with years but their winning rate and the way they proceed the game was enough to instill fear in the minds of opposition. I am not telling that other sides were weak but they lack confidence when they go against India, and in my opinion that is called dominance and this dominance changes you from Best to Great.

Coming back to cricket, if we look at the Windies side from 1980-1995, they were fearless. Going in a game it never seemed that they are going for a defensive game. If you listen to some one from 80's who were addictive with this game, they will surely tell that it was a sense of fear that make home in heart of teams who played against them. Gavaskar always said that they were beast in the field and soft outside. They took the game as if it is the last thing they need to do in this world. Their greatness never comes from winning, rather it comes from the pumping heart of opposite teams and fans. Aussies side also tried to create the same feeling. I know Aussies lost most of their series in India, but again if you ask any Indian cricket fan in India during that time, they only hope that India could win a game or so.
It was the dominance that makes them different from others.

Regarding SA, though they have a good record but they never approached the game like attacking. They were defensive, and I think most of their loses were because of this. No doubt they have bowled opposite teams below 50, but at the same time they were also a losing side in one match or two in the same series. So their confidence never put a fear in the opposite teams.

I feel SAians were best but not great enough to be compared to those of Aussies or Windies side.

It was my personal opinion. I didn't mean to hurt. I am sorry if my opinion is hurting any cricket fan here.
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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by VTR on Thu 30 Jul 2015, 10:43 am

My view which is up there to be shot down in flames as I haven't got time to look up the stats is not enough Tests played in that period to be stamp authority on the opposition. I suspect a few more 5 Test series with 3-1, 4-1 drubbings in there would have helped their legacy. Not the fault of the players of course and as I say I could be wrong.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by jbeadlesbigrighthand on Thu 30 Jul 2015, 11:57 am

subhranshu.kumar.5 wrote:I will begin my opinion with reference of another game.
Indian Hockey team dominated the sport from 1928 till  late 70's. I agree they were depreciating with years but their winning rate and the way they proceed the game was enough to instill fear in the minds of opposition. I am not telling that other sides were weak but they lack confidence when they go against India, and in my opinion that is called dominance and this dominance changes you from Best to Great.

Coming back to cricket, if we look at the Windies side from 1980-1995, they were fearless. Going in a game it never seemed that they are going for a defensive game. If you listen to some one from 80's who were addictive with this game, they will surely tell that it was a sense of fear that make home in heart of teams who played against them. Gavaskar always said that they were beast in the field and soft outside. They took the game as if it is the last thing they need to do in this world. Their greatness never comes from winning, rather it comes from the pumping heart of opposite teams and fans. Aussies side also tried to create the same feeling. I know Aussies lost most of their series in India, but again if you ask any Indian cricket fan in India during that time, they only hope that India could win a game or so.
It was the dominance that makes them different from others.

Regarding SA, though they have a good record but they never approached the game like attacking. They were defensive, and I think most of their loses were because of this. No doubt they have bowled opposite teams below 50, but at the same time they were also a losing side in one match or two in the same series. So their confidence never put a fear in the opposite teams.

I feel SAians were best but not great enough to be compared to those of Aussies or Windies side.

It was my personal opinion. I didn't mean to hurt. I am sorry if my opinion is hurting any cricket fan here.

I think that's pretty fair - Australia and the West Indies always seemed to back themselves to get the win, no matter the situation. I'd also look at fear from the other side. I don't think SA inspire fear in the same way as the great teams.

As an aside, this must be the politest post I've ever read on 606v2. Very nice to read.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by Gooseberry on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 8:35 am

Actually thats probably a very good point about SA maybe being seen as a bit of a "boring" and "unglamourous" team and not having the same kind of imagination capturing as the classic Windies and Aus sides.
Youc ould say the same for Kallis as well who stats wise is the match of any all rounder and all but a very few specialist batsmen (averaged higher than the likes of Tendulkar), but only really got accepted as a genuine legend at the very end of his career and still struggles to get the same recognition as guys like Sobers.
Maybe part of the problem as well is that theres been a sense that testcricket has declined in quialty over the last couple of decades. How true that really is Im not so sure, but its certainly a line the ex players push.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by kingraf on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 6:36 pm

Well, we are a rather unimaginative bunch. I'm not sure why, Dutch Reformed Church influence I suppose. Plan A is work hard, plan B is work harder. A guy like Kallis, I always felt, is criminally underrated. To me he's the greatest cricketer of all time. Had all the shots in the book, the temperament. A safe pair of hands in the slips, and if all else failed, could take a few sticks with the ball.

As for the current state of Test cricket. It's a tough one. As of now, I'd say Tests are maybe in a bit of a lull, but I think that's more to do with teams simultaneously bedding new line ups for some reason. I bring up the '99 Windies series a lot, but there is absolutely no excuse for Australia not winning 4-0. Man vs man, I don't think that team is all that much better than the one England drew with this. Obviously Lara, Ambrose and Walsh walk into the team; but I honestly think the rest would between them be lucky to even get a call up. Test cricket has certainly evolved, but I'm not sure that means it's gone backwards. I think, as a rule bowlers are bowling more wicket-hunting balls (possibly due to a greater analysis of batter weakness). This obviously creates greater scope for bad balls, which increases the run rate. Batsmen on the other hand are looking to score quicker, which leads to more unnecessary dismissals. The first Test vs NZ is a good example of a game which I don't think a more circumspect England would in a million Sundays have won. On the other hand, maybe a circumspect England doesn't lose the second Test.

As a rule, I think the "in my day" views have more than a tinge of rosey tint. I think only five teams have ever batted five sessions to save a test. This to me supports the view and idea that if you have enough runs, and a seemingly endless supply of time... you bundle a team out. As an aside, maybe this is why Australia is always there or thereabouts as a cricketing nation. The Ex-players seem to ALWAYS think the current incumbents are miles ahead of them. You've heard Warne gushing about Nathan Lyon. Allan Border seems to think Shane Watson is God's gift to the world and would never drop him. Must make for a rather nice confidence boost for a player rather than Ian Botham saying this and that. Or Boycott saying he could have done this or that with a rhubarb.
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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by msp83 on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 8:29 pm

Raf, that series where Walsh brought the game home with a bit of help from Lara? That was one of the best series ever played. Yes, the WI was a declining side and they were smashed and brutalized by South Africa the previous year. But they still were playing at home, they still had Ambrose and Walsh, and they had Lara. All the 3 played in SA as well, but the kind of pressure that Lara was under in that series, and the way he responded to the same, that was differentHe batted like a man possessed, and he was the difference between 4--0 and 2-2....... He took on McGrath, he destroied Warne, he ripped apart Gillespie. Warney even got benched for a test! He faced up to everything the Australians had to throw at him. He faught his board, he faught himself and yet managed to produced the goods. That was one series where test cricket was reduced to an individual spoart to the at most level possible. That was an exceptional series. not the rule setter in an analysis like this. That was the series of King Brian Charles of Trinidad! At the end of the day, nobody else mattered.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by msp83 on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 8:42 pm

Now, as for the South Africans of 2006-2014, they were the best of that era. Not less, not much more. Their away record is impressive, they have a much better record in India than what the Australians managed during their days at the top most level. However, they had a few absolutely top class players mixed with some average ones. Australians had a batting lineup of Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Martin, Clarke, Hussey, Gilchrist. Throw Simonds and of course Steve Waugh into the mix. SA had Smith, Amla, Kallis and AB, plus a bunch of decent batsmen like Prince, some average ones and a few no-hopers. Boucher was good in his own right, but he wasn't Gilchrist. In the spin department there is absolutely no comparison.
They kept losing to Australia at home even after the Australian era had ended. They dropped a few too many home tests. They didn't win anything meaningful in limited overs to help build that sense of greatness around them.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by msp83 on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 8:49 pm

Lets not talk about Warn and lets leave McGrath aside as South Africa do have Dale Steyn. Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, Stuart Clarke during the Australian era, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander during SA's time at the top. Where would they rank as bowlers?

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by kingraf on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 9:01 pm

They weren't declining so much as basically on death's door. Of course Lara had a good series, and Windies probably would have lost without him; but that's neither here nor there. Lots of players have omega series and lose. Rather average players made big plays against the Aussies to help Lara. Not unheard of, of course. But still, really no excuse.

Think you'd have to group them all about the same, wouldn't you? I would have said except Morne, but his career stats point to an average under 30, and strike rate around 56. Don't know why, but Morne is one of those guys who's stats are always a little better than you'd think.
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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by alfie on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 5:29 am

I'd put Pollock a bit above the others on that list. Might be just personal taste as he was always a favourite of mine.

Generally agree with msp that the lack of ODI cups detracts a bit from the aura in comparison with the WI and Australian outfits. And perhaps despite their very hard to beat reputation , the SA team never inspired quite the same shock and awe...
Maybe the fact they don't seem to play as many Tests counts against them too.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by king_carlos on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 7:13 am

One good thing about Dale Steyn's landmark is that it seems to have drawn some well deserved attention onto how good the backbone of the SA pace attack for the last 8/9 years has been. Until Steyn started getting wider recognition as a great of the game I think many may have scoffed at this debate.

I think most here have hit the nail on the head with a lack of a world cup and a difference in the depth of quality in those 3 sides being what sets the Aus and WIs sides apart.

Comparing the Aus and SA teams in tests.

Looking a the cores of the two pace attacks across those eras - Pollock, Steyn, Ntini, Phillander and Morkel compare very well with McGrath, Gillespie and Lee (with Clark also contributing briefly). Given how many wickets Warne took the list of Australia seamers is shorter with Kasprowicz the next highest wicket taker from said period, Colin Miller also has an impresside record over a very short test career. The two compare pretty squarely however with SA having much more depth in their pacemen.

The above is without mentioning the small matter of 291 test wickets from Kallis as well. Which brings me onto the area where SA are streets ahead of the Aus side, the all rounder spot. Given how exceptional Warne and McGrath were together Australia rarely used much in the way of a 5th bowler during that period. Whereas SA had the greatest all rounder of the modern game.

That is where the positive comparisons end for SA though IMO.

In the wicket keeper spot, whilst Boucher was a mighty fine player in his own right, Gilchrist is a class above.

Then whilst SA have scratched around with Harris, Petersen and Tahir as spinners, Australia had Warne and McGill - with over 200 test wickets he should not be forgotten!

In the batting it is a case of South Africa's best squaring up well with Australia's best but the rest being a bit of step down in class. Smith, Kallis, ABDV and Amla for SA and Hayden, Ponting, Steve Waugh, Clarke and Hussey for Australia are all in the same heady bracket.

Australia however had those batsmen supported by Langer, Martyn, Slater and Lehmann (Katich also has good record but his best came after '07). Whereas the South African greats were supported by Prince and Faf Du Plessis*. Then after those two it is another drop in quality to Neil McKenzie, Petersen, Rudolph and Duminy. All are players who had their moments in the test arena, with McKenzie and Petersen achieving reasonable consistency, I would argue they don't compare too well to their Australian counterparts however.

* It is early in Faf Du Plessis career but he has only played 7 tests fewer than Lehmann and has an appreciably higher average so is deserving of his place in this debate IMO.

Overall I would have them comfortably third ranked amongst those sides. It is a good debate to be having however and one which sums up a deserved increase in respect from the cricketing community to just how good South Africa have been for close to a decade now.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by kingraf on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 7:34 am

All fair comments. Thing with Mckenzie is that he averages nearly 50 when he made his comeback from the wilderness as an opener, but then he was disposed of rather prematurely. Ashwell Prince as well had a rather premature culling of his career. Something about JP Duminy having promise. Suppose Faf played at the end of the era, but he's still averaging 50, and penned the modern day epic upon which all modern "Occupy the crease" epics will be measured, surely deserves a mention?

I would say also, that I'm not actually suggesting that South Africa has had the depth of really good players that Australia had. Obviously rather dependent on certain match winners, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when Dale Steyn averages 16, with a Strike Rate of 30 in victories.

Think what I'm getting at is that of course Australia have the advantage, but in series of their best vs our best, I think we'd have a very very good chance of winning. Start as underdogs of course, but lively ones. Unless the series was played in Asia... in which case we'd walk it Smile

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by msp83 on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 7:47 am

The last decade saw South Africa, Australia, England and India playing some top cricket. What Stands out for SA in that period though that they have managed to avoid the wild swings in performance levels that afflicted the other sides. They have been the most consistent side in the last 8-9 years or so. but that's about. Not sure they had enough depth of quality players overall or even sustained all format success to take them to the next level.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by msp83 on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 7:52 am

Back to that 1999 series though. Yes, players may have some real bumper series from time to time. Lara himself had some even better series, the the Sri Lanka series in 2001 where he scored all the runs his side made, his final series against Pakistan...... But this was different. This was like Andrew Flintoff in the 05 Ashes. Something absolutely special....... Not just in terms of the output in terms of runs or wickets, but in terms of the overall impact.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by king_carlos on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 7:58 am

On McKenzie, he's a player I really liked. He had a simple game in which he played within his limitations and he was tough as old boots. He did average nearly 50 on his return but within that he only had three centuries with one of them, the double, against Bangladesh. All three were away which is notable but with another coming in the Chennai test in which almost 1500 runs were scored with only 25 wickets falling it wasn't exactly a fighting innings. His century at Lords however was excellent however.

Given he is still scoring runs in county cricket this season it is definitely fair to say Prince was prematurely put out to pasture! Although I am not really aware of the circumstances around.

Faf definitely deserves a mention as I allowed him, In a discussion on best sides of all time he is a brief visitor however!

If selecting a best vs best side who would you go for the in third seamer, spinner and second opener spot? Personally I would plump for the below, although a 4 man pace attack backed by Kallis did tempt me!

1.Smith
2.McKenzie or Prince
3.Amla
4.ABDV
5.Kallis
6.Faf Du Plessis
7.Boucher (wk)
8.Pollock
9.Phillander
10.Steyn
11.Harris

That against the following would be fun to watch.

1.Langer
2.Hayden
3.Ponting
4.Hussey
5.Clarke
6.Waugh
7.Gilchrist (wk)
8.Warne
9.Gillespie
10.Lee
11.McGrath

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by kingraf on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 8:16 am

Yeah, that would probably be our team, but since it's a fantasy match, I'd rather go.

Smith (c)
Mckenzie
Amla
Kallis
Abdv (WK)
Faf DuP
Prince
Philander
Steyn
Morkel
Harris

Think/pray/hope AB is a reasonable enough keeper to allow us to go into a series with seven batsmen and five bowlers, which is what's really proven successful for us. The proverbial twelve man team.

As for Ashwell, I think he ran into a bit of a rut, and the team was really really anxious to get JP (or was it Rudolph?) back into the side. Ashwell got run out vs Sri Lanka in a match we lost, and was dismissed.
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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by king_carlos on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 8:34 am

A fair side kingraf. I'm an advocate of picking your best keeper hence Boucher.

No Pollock however? Is that a case of feeling his performances tailed off during the period being discussed?

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by king_carlos on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 8:37 am

I seem to remember a media furore over Rudolph returning so it may have been Jacques. It sounds a bit like a case of one senior player being given less time to escape the rut than others may have though which always strikes of misfortune for the player to be dropped.

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Re: Where does the 2006-2014 South African vintage rank all time?

Post by kingraf on Sat 01 Aug 2015, 8:58 am

Yeah, the Pollock omission is nothing more than the windows period. He probably averages less than Morkel in that time, but Morkel adds a different dimension, and Pollock was rather impotent towards the end. Ntini is also a little unlucky, but he injured his knee in 2005, and was never quite the same following that.

The thing with Boucher/AB for thé gloves, is that AB has numbers with them on that would make Gilchrist blush. Well except for Strike Rate. But no one matches Gilly there. Blazing whirlwind of pyrotechnics he was. So it's really about that X-factor. We didn't beat Aus for a long time because we simply didn't have it. Also AB's reasonable enough with the gloves in SA/Aus.

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